NOW Comics was a successful comics publisher during the glory days of comics in the 80's and 90's. NOW published a number of licensed and original titles including Twilight Zone, Green Hornet and my favorite, The Real Ghostbusters. But there was one comic title that I couldn't believe was an actual comic book: Married...with Children. Based on the hit Fox television show that featured a down-on-his-luck shoe salesman named Al Bundy, this sitcom was no Leave it to Beaver. In fact, it was almost like no other sitcom before it. It was crude, rude and lacking in a moral message. The formula was a winner for the game-changing, fledgling Fox TV network that dared to be different from its decades old broadcast peers. But what about the comic? Based on the early seasons, the NOW Comics version featured stylized, but recognizable versions of Al, Peggy, Kelly and Bud with appearances by the goody two-shoes neighbors Steve and Marcy Rhodes. The stories were comic book funny meaning they were pretty akin to what you'd see on Saturday morning, not the risque version you'd see on Sunday nights. While the TV show ran for 11 seasons with 259 episodes, the comic book was less successful. It had 2 series, for a total of 14 issues. These were joined by 22 specials and annuals from June 1990 through December of 1994. The series ended when NOW Comics themselves filed for bankruptcy.
The stories are typical 90's licensed, adapted-from-TV tales that take advantage of the medium, but are safe for the supermarket spinner rack. I loved Married with Children growing up and I picked up every issue I could find. Now, all these years later those issues were sold off at a garage sale, but I picked up a few of the old ones from eBay to see if they held up to my standards from way back. And they do as much as I expected. It's Saturday morning Bundy style and in comic book form. Al is a forever loser, Peggy his bon bon loving, couch potato wife, Kelly is the dimwitted daughter and Bud is the scheming, unfortunate son. Oh, and Buck the dog is there, too. Pick them up for nostalgic sake (they're not expensive or worth much), but they can offer a little fun. These comics were best remembered for what they were when they were new in the 90's. For me, like Al and his high school football days, they were happy reminders of better days long past. Four touchdowns in one game, not withstanding.